Oregon State's Luke Heimlich takes leave of absence after sex crime surfaces

Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich asked to be excused from the team in the NCAA baseball Super Regionals.
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Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich asked to be excused from playing in the team’s Super Regional matchup, a day after a disturbing report about a crime he committed as a teenager surfaced.

Heimlich is the top pitcher for the No. 1 ranked Beavers. Heimlich’s criminal history was first reported by The Oregonian on Thursday after it surfaced that in 2012, Heimlich pleaded guilty to one count of molestation of a 6-year-old girl when he was 15.

Heimlich said in a statement released by his attorney that he did not want to be a distraction to the team.

"I understand that many people now see me differently, but I hope that I can eventually be judged for the person I am today," Heimlich said. "I'm so proud of our team's accomplishment and don't want to be a distraction. Therefore, I've respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time."

It is not known if Heimlich will be available to pitch for the rest of the Super Regionals.

The newspaper reported that Heimlich was cited in April after missing an annual update, which put his case in state court records for the first time and led to The Oregonian’s discovery of his past during a background check.

Oregon State redshirt junior Jake Thompson will take Heimlich's place in the rotation during the series against Vanderbilt. The best-of-three series is for a berth in the College World Series.